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Trump Sanctions on Iran

September 30, 2019
Updated: February 7, 2020
President Trump began increasing unilateral sanctions on Iran within weeks of taking office in January 2017. By the end of the year, the U.S. had imposed eight new rounds of sanctions, on individuals and companies linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).   In May 2018, the United States …

Report: Iranian Entrenchment in Syria

September 27, 2019
Iran’s critical assistance to the Assad regime has given it wide latitude to entrench itself on Syrian territory, according to new report by the Syria Study Group. Tehran is working to introduce advanced weapons systems that could threaten Israel and to establish a foothold in the eastern…

Rouhani Press Conference at the U.N.

September 27, 2019
In a press conference at the end of his visit to New York, President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that Iran is open to talks with the United States — if it lifts sanctions. “Cease this policy of maximum pressure and pursue a policy of dialogue and logic and reason, and to seek that which benefits the…

U.S. Bans Iranian Officials and Families

September 25, 2019
On September 25, President Trump announced that the United States would ban senior Iranian officials and their families from entering the country. He said the action was based on Iran’s behavior, which “threatens peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond.” The following is an announcement…

U.S. Sanctions Chinese Oil Firms

September 25, 2019
On September 25, U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on five Chinese companies and six Chinese nationals accused of importing oil from Iran. The United States designated the China Concord Petroleum Co. Ltd., and two units of a major Chinese shipping company, Cosco Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. Ltd.…

Pompeo on Iran at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 27, 2019
On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to blame Iran for the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities. He said the United States was “working diligently” to find a diplomatic resolution despite Iran’s "state-on-state act of war." The following…

Trump on Iran at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 27, 2019
On September 24, President Trump condemned Iran’s leaders for supporting terror, destabilizing the region and cheating their citizens. "Iran’s leaders will have turned a proud nation into another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks upon a crusade for…

Rouhani at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 26, 2019
On September 23, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly. In his address to world leaders, Rouhani accused the United States of “economic terrorism.” He said Tehran would not enter talks on its nuclear program or other issues unless the United…

A New Nuclear Deal with Iran?

September 23, 2019
Updated: February 4, 2020
Since May 2018, President Trump has sought a new and broader deal with Iran that would cover its controversial nuclear program as well missile tests, regional intervention, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. French President Emmanuel Macron has launched behind-the-scenes diplomacy to…

U.S. Mobilizes Maritime Coalition in Persian Gulf

September 23, 2019
On July 19, the United States announced plans to mobilize an international maritime force to protect vital shipping routes in the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon said the mission would be “to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation” in…

Zarif in New York: On U.S. and Regional Tensions

September 23, 2019
Updated: September 26, 2019
On September 20, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in New York City ahead of the U.N. General Assembly opening. Zarif discussed U.S. tensions, the Saudi oil attacks and other issues in interviews with several news outlets and television networks. The following are excerpts from…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Central Bank

September 20, 2019
On September 20, President Trump announced sanctions on Iran’s central bank. “We’ve never done it at this level,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s too bad what’s happening with Iran. It’s going to hell.” Trump added, “They are broke and they could solve the problem very easily. All they…

Zarif on “All-Out-War”

September 19, 2019
On September 19, Iranian Foreign Minister warned that Tehran could respond to a U.S. or Saudi military strike with “all-out war.” He questioned Saudi resolve and told CNN that the kingdom was prepared to fight "to the last American soldier." Zarif said Tehran hoped to avoid conflict but added, “We…

Timeline of Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 14, a drone and missile attack damaged a processing facility and oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but U.S. and Saudi officials claimed the attacks originated outside of Yemen. Both countries claimed Iran was involved.…

Flashpoints: Iran and Saudi Arabia

September 18, 2019
By Garrett Nada with Thomas Neal, Cameron Glenn and others Since 1979, Iran’s theocracy and Saudi Arabia’s monarchy have vied for regional dominance. Their competition has played out politically, militarily, economically, and culturally—and regularly in rhetoric. In 1987, revolutionary leader…

U.S. Forces Deployed Around Iran

September 18, 2019
Updated: January 14, 2020
The United States has added at least 14,000 more troops to the Middle East in response to tensions with Iran between May 2019 and December 2019. As of January 2020, there were between 60,000 to 80,000 U.S. troops deployed in and around the Persian Gulf. This number includes forces positioned in…

Pompeo in the Gulf

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities an “act of war.” Pompeo, who was traveling to the kingdom to discuss a response, told reporters the September 14 strikes had the "fingerprints of the Ayatollah." He denied claims that the attacks…

Congress on Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
In September 2019, members of Congress were divided over how the Trump administration should respond to attacks that damaged oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Democrats were united in demanding the White House seek authorization from Congress prior to any military action against Iran. Senator Chris…

Saudi Statements on Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
On September 18, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry held a press conference to display material evidence allegedly proving Iranian involvement in attacks on two oil facilities. “Despite Iran's best efforts to make it appear so, their collaboration with their proxy in the region to create this false…

Robert O’Brien on Iran

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 18, President Trump announced the appointment of Robert O'Brien as his new national security advisor. Since May 2018, O'Brien has served as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. He also worked on Afghanistan judicial reform under the Obama Administration and as a…

New Study on Iran’s Nuclear Capabilities and Intentions

September 17, 2019
For more than a decade, one of Iran’s top national security priorities has been to maintain its ability to enrich uranium. Although Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, according to U.S. intelligence, Tehran wanted to maintain the core capabilities necessary for weaponization should it…

Iranian Statements on Saudi Oil Attack

September 17, 2019
Updated: September 24, 2019
Iranian officials denied U.S. allegations that Tehran was behind the September 14 strikes on Saudi oil facilities. The United States swiftly blamed Iran for the attacks despite a Houthi statement claiming responsibility. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented…

Trump on Saudi Oil Attacks

September 17, 2019
Updated: September 20, 2019
President Trump’s reactions to the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities have ranged from confrontational to conciliatory. After the September 14 attacks, Trump seemed to threaten an armed response. He tweeted the United States was “locked and loaded” as it investigated the culprit. On September 16…

Khamenei Nixes Direct Talks with U.S.

September 17, 2019
On September 17, Iran’s supreme leader nixed the possibility of bilateral talks with Washington. His remarks came one day after President Donald Trump blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut production in half. Tehran denied involvement. In remarks to seminary students, Ayatollah…

Timeline of Houthi Attacks on Saudi Arabia

September 16, 2019
On September 14, an explosive drone attack damaged a processing facility and oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebel movement in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, although U.S. and Saudi officials claimed the attacks originated outside of Yemen. Both countries…

World Reaction to Saudi Oil Attacks

September 16, 2019
Updated: September 24, 2019
Tensions in the Middle East escalated after drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. On September 14, the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities—both run by the state-owned company Saudi Aramco—were struck by “projectiles” in a pre-dawn attack.  Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been…

Iranian Newspapers on Bolton Exit

September 13, 2019
A range of Iranian newspapers devoted part of their front pages to National Security Advisor John Bolton’s exit from the Trump administration. Prior to taking office in April 2018, he was an outspoken critic of the nuclear deal. Bolton also advocated for regime change in Tehran and the use of…

U.S.-Iran Jousting Moves to Twitter

September 11, 2019
Amid diplomacy to bring their presidents together, the United States and Iran have been talking to each other--on Twitter. The tone varies from taunting to caustic banter. Top officials often tag each other in their posts. They sometimes even address each other personally. The subjects vary from…

Iran's Increasing Reliance on China

September 11, 2019
Updated: December 3, 2019
By Alex Yacoubian Longstanding trade relations between Iran and China have deepened since the U.S. imposed punitive economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in November 2018. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi called the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners” during a visit by Iranian…

Israeli Army Tweets Target Iran—in Farsi

September 6, 2019
Updated: September 13, 2019
Last month, Israel unveiled the latest weapon in its high-tech arsenal: @IDFFarsi. The Farsi-language Twitter account expands the considerable social media reach of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) – already operating in Hebrew, English, Spanish, and French – into yet another linguistic domain. The…